Kamloops 2008 (Look Back Records LBR-021/022)
Interior Savings Center, Kamloops, British Columbia, October 25th, 2008
Disc 1 01. Intro 02. Watching The River Flow 03. It‘s All Over Now Baby Blue 04. Stuck inside A Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again 05. Ballad Of Hollis Brown 06. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum 07. Just Like A Woman 08. Rollin’ And Tumblin‘ 09 Workingman’s Blues #2 10. Summer Days 11. Simple Twist Of Fate
Disc 2 01. Honest With Me 02. Thunder On The Mountain 03. Highway 61 Revisited 04. Ain’t Talkin’ 05. Thunder On The Mountain 06. Like A rolling Stone 7. All Along The Watchtower
The Bob Dylan release from LookBack Records entitled, KAMLOOPS 2008 is a very nice recording that documents last minute dates that were added to Bob Dylan’s “Never-Ending Tour”. Shortly after releasing, The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs in October of 2008, Mr. Dylan & company announced eighteen new concerts would be added to his Fall 2008 tour and I believe the success of Vol. 8 had everything to do with his decision. The KAMLOOPS 2008audience recording has a very different feel than the Post-Presidental celebratory show LookBack Records also released entitled, KALAMAZOO 2008. The Kalamazoo, Michigan show was recorded days after Barack Obama became the next President of the United States and showcases one of only three U.S. dates Mr. Dylan and his band would play on this leg of the “Never-Ending Tour” . The vibe and setlist of the KAMLOOPS 2008is obviously not as colorful and celebratory, but instead, this live show has a setlist that is very bluesy and provocative. The same ring announcer used at the Michigan show introduces Mr. Dylan in much the same fashion……that being like a professional boxing match is unfold.
The show starts out with “Watching The River Flow” a very blues tune that appears on, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II. In 1971, shortly after George Jackson, a member of the BLACK PANTHER PARTY, was shot and killed at San Quentin Prison in San Rafael, California, Dylan was inspired to write and record this song during a session with Leon Russell at the Blue Rock Studios in Greenwich Village, New York. Bob Dylan’s 2008 version is equally as smooth and bluesy as the 1971 original and his band sounds like well oiled machine as they roll right through this number flawlessly. The next number, “It‘s All Over Now Baby Blue”, originally appearing on, Bringing It All Back Home, and also appearing on Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. IIseems like it is directed right at President George Bush….letting him known that it is all over but the crying. This version is not as trippy sounding / Grateful Dead-like as the KALAMAZOO 2008 version, it seems more serious and direct.
Mr. Dylan, sitting right in the middle of the starts hammering away on his keyboard and launches into another song that appears on his 1971 release entitled, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II and originally appeared on Dylan’s 1966 album entitled, Blonde On Blonde. The tightness of Mr. Dylan’s band stands out strongly on this 7:21 tune as they flow effortlessly through the unpredictable time signatures. Aside from Dylan’s growl and the end of each chorus, the most interesting aspect of this tune is Dylan’s lyrical phrasing sweetly keeping time with the band’s boogie’esque grooving. It is so nice to hear Dylan blowing the Harmonica and tickling the keys while flowing through an abundance of lyrics. The crowd loved this number!
“Ballad Of Hollis Brown” comes up next and the bluesy version of this tune that originally appeared on the 1964 album entitled, THE TIMES ARE A-CHANGIN’, has a haunting slide guitar lingering in the background with an emotional bass line that symbolizes a mounting heartbeat. Images of Poverty, starvation, desperation and impossible choices are flying my mind as the song refuses to end. Mr. Dylan repeats specific verses several more times to keep the old school blues number going.
The next number that really stands out is, “Just Like A Woman” . This song originally appeared on the 1966 album entitled, Blonde On Blonde and Mr. Dylan’s version at this show is a great combination of country western & Motown. The pedal steel guitar keeping time with the B-3 sounding organ sways the listener right into some very melodic electric guitar chops. holding time with some fancy drumming. The crowd really loved this number.
“Rollin’ And Tumblin‘”, a traditional blues tune mostly credited to Hambone Willie Newbern back in 1929 appears on Mr. Dylan’s 2006 album entitled, Modern Times. Hundreds of artist have played this song over the years and most of themuse the lyrics that McKinley Morganfield (aka Muddy Waters) penned back in the 1950’s, but Mr. Dylan added new lyrics that differ from any other version. This is a wang dang doodle of a tune……There is nothing but booty shakin’ going on during this little number. The crowd was very appreciative of this tune!
OK…..the Dylan blues show rolls on with the next stand out number being, “Summer Days”. This tune originally appeared on Dylan’s 2001 album entitled, Love And Theft and it sounds like a late 1950’s swing blues number that Dylan is simply having fun with. Mr. Dylan starts trading keyboard licks with a dueling guitar player and you can just feel the blues in the air. The song spirals right into a frenzy of swing that leaves the audience screaming for more. What a fun tune!
Disc one ends with a very soulful tune Dylan wrote for his 1975 album entitled, Blood On The Tracks, and what a unique treat this version of “Simple Twist Of Fate” is. It is such a pretty version of this song. A very mellow, bluesy version that has Mr. Dylan on his harmonica dancing with a sweet bass line being laid down. Mr. Dylan does stumble through the lyrics mid way, but who cares…….this version is just so damn good! The unique way he delivers his lyrics, the meter of his poetry is just so interchangeable and he demonstrates this so well with this version. I am pretty sure that if Jerry G. were still around he would have cried during this version……it is that good!
Ok…Disc 2 starts out with “Honest With Me”. A tune featured on Dylan’s 2001 album entitled, Love And Theft. This nice little groove rides on a grooving bass line and Mr. Dylan sounds like he is just having fun singing this number. This tune about lady troubles and the frustration associated with that type of situation has a charming groove going on and Dylan deserves props for hanging so well on keys with the bass player’s groove.
The next standout track is “Highway 61 Revisited, the title track to his 1965 album, Highway 61 Revisited. Once Dylan and company complete another country western boogie tune entitled, “When The Deal Goes Down” from his 2006 album entitled, Modern Times, the audience is greeted with a more familiar title track that most Dylan fans would know right off the bat. This Highway 61 groove can immediately be compared to John Lee Hooker at a Juke Joint back in the early 60’s and Dylan’s rhythm section and guitar player make things really happen on this tune!
“Thunder On The Mountain” is the next standout track coming straight off of Dylan’s 2006 album entitled, Modern Times. This is such a straight up boogie that crowd goes on cheering for 3:34!!! What a drop down boogie!! Bob sounds like he is back on his “Rollin Thunder” Tour!
Once Mr. Dylan & his band cooled off……the listener is greeted with two incredible encores……”Like A Rolling Stone” and “All Along The Watchtower” Both songs have a level of intensity that is equal to a band that is just warming up and ready to roll!The most intense out of the two encores is, “All Along The Watchtower”………it has a level of energy that combines Hendrix’s version and U2’s version with Dylan’s unique lyrical signatures. ….a very intense ending!! LookBack Records have all of the titles correct, but I would consider the overall package design to be simply average. It looks like shots were taken off of Google or Flickr and then some basic type design was thrown on top. Most collectors don’t worry too much about the package design, so with that being said….those who do might be slightly disappointed.
A must have for Dylan Heads!